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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Half of Four"

This poem is spillover from the December 4, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a comment from rix_scaedu under the poem "Quarterboard."  It has been sponsored out of the general fund, based on an audience poll.  This poem belongs to the series Path of the Paladins, which you can explore further via the Serial Poetry page.


Half of Four


The worship was long since over
and the temple nearly empty.
Only Gorrein himself remained,
sulking near the altar,
and the soul of a drummer boy
who had died valiantly in battle.

"What are you still doing here?"
Gorrein demanded.
"You seemed upset about something,"
the drummer said. 
"I thought maybe I could help."

"Go away," Gorrein said,
"or I will peel away your soul
like the layers of an onion."
The drummer spread his intangible hands.
"If it would make you feel better,
My Lord, go ahead," he said.

Gorrein looked away.
"Waste of my time," he muttered.
Then he turned back, grudgingly,
and said, "I'm bored.  I'm lonely."

"I'm here, My Lord,"
the drummer said at once.
"I'll entertain you however you like."

"If you ever tell anyone about this,"
Gorrein threatened in a growl,
"I will turn you into a piece of coal
and fling you into the brazier."
"Agreed," said the drummer.

Gorrein sighed, then,
his breath like a curl of smoke
from a cooling campfire.
"I've lost my last ally," he admitted.
"Barzay no longer supports me."

The drummer's eyes widened.
"But Barzay always -- um.  Wow,"
he said raggedly.
"No wonder you're upset.
I'd be upset too, if all my friends left me."

"Everyone hates me," Gorrein said.
"I'm the God of War and Evil,
and all anyone ever wanted to talk about
was my stupid sister.  So I took over
a bunch of other realms, and now
nobody wants me around at all."

"Then why don't you try
doing something different?"
the drummer asked.

"Because I don't know what else to do!"
Gorrein snapped at him.
"I don't know how!  I am what I am.
It's just that nobody likes  the way I am."

"Oh," said the drummer.
"I guess I'd hate that too.  I'm not
very good at being nice and quiet."

"Plus I'm still bored and lonely,"
Gorrein said.  He toyed with something
in one of the ornate cabinets.

"What is that?"
the drummer asked, perking up. 
"I've never seen a game like that before."

"It's called Quarterboard,"
Gorrein said.  "It's a strategy game,
meant for four players,
but I've lost the last of mine."

"Well, half of four is two,"
the drummer pointed out.
"So you could play two of the four sides,
and I could play two, and it would be even."

The god looked the very small soul
of his very young follower and said,
"Hardly.  I'd beat you in no time."

The drummer shrugged and said,
"So let me play three sides against your one.
At least then it'll take you longer to beat me."

Gorrein laughed.
"I like the way you think," he said,
and began setting up the board.

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Current Mood: busy busy

6 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
pickledginger From: pickledginger Date: December 10th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Sweet. :-)
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: December 10th, 2012 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)
So, can the drummer boy help balance his god? Who sounds, to me, as if he never intended the worst of what happened to his sister.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 10th, 2012 09:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>So, can the drummer boy help balance his god?<<

He is certainly trying his little heart out.

>> Who sounds, to me, as if he never intended the worst of what happened to his sister. <<

That's possible. He may have meant to knock her down to his level and/or pull himself up, but may not have meant for things to go quite as far as they did.
siege From: siege Date: December 10th, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds to me like War and Evil forgot Moderation along the way. You don't get to engage in things forever if you can't keep them in balance with the rest of your environment.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 10th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

>>Sounds to me like War and Evil forgot Moderation along the way.<<

Not so much forgotten as never learned. Moderation is Talaton's specialty, not Gorrein's specialty. (We would not be in this mess if they'd specialized less and learned from each other more.) Gorrein is ... kind of like a teenaged boy with a lot of power and not nearly as much common sense, let loose with far too much headway. The other deities waited until he was driving everyone else bugfuck before trying to rein him in, and even then, I can't say much for their methods or success.

>> You don't get to engage in things forever if you can't keep them in balance with the rest of your environment. <<

Sooth. Now if we can just hammer that clue into his thick little head...
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 13th, 2018 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
A surprisingly accommodating drummer. If I didn't know better, I'd suspect him to be a God himself. Or someone sent by one, to change things.

Can't say I feel much for the plight of a privileged sort who suddenly found out forgiveness has to be earned. A tough lesson late in life.
6 comments or Leave a comment